Senate Democrats tee up vote to codify abortion law with long-shot odds of getting 60 votes to pass

This would be the second time this year that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has forced a vote on the issue.
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Schumer
Schumer on Feb. 1, 2022
Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a plan Thursday to force a vote on legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade – following the release earlier this week of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating justices may soon overturn the high-court's decades-old abortion-related ruling.

The legislation will almost certainly not pass in the vote set for next week because it needs 60 "yeahs" to advance, considering only 50 of the upper chamber's 100 members are Democrats. 

However, Democrats, who have a 51-member majority when including Vice President Kamala Harris, can force a vote that will put Republicans on record about their opposition to the longstanding precedent on abortion rights resulting from the high court's 1973 ruling. 

"Next week the U.S. Senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman’s right to seek abortion into federal law," Schumer said Thursday on the Senate floor.

The New York Democrat intends to set up the bill Monday with an aim for an initial vote on Wednesday.

Critics of the Roe v. Wade ruling argue that Congress, by vote and as representatives of the people, not the Judiciary, should determine whether women have a constitutional right to abortion as put forth in high court's 1973 ruling. 

Schumer earlier this year forced a vote on the issue that ended in a 46-48 tally, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., voting with Senate Republicans.

The new legislation has been amended in slight ways, primarily striking a non-binding "findings" section from the bill. 

Manchin says that he has yet to see the revised version.

Schumer says his Republican colleagues have largely remained silent on the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned and have instead focused their attention on the unprecedented nature of the leak, which is related to a Mississippi abortion case before the high court – whose ruling, likely in June, is expected to keep, reverse or partially reverse Roe v. Wade.  

"All week we’ve been seeing Republicans try to duck, dodge and dip from their responsibility for bringing Roe to the brink of total repeal," Schumer said.

"Next week the American people will see crystal clear that when given the chance to right this wrong, the Republican Party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions or side with women, with families and with the vast majority of Americans."